Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Brokeback Mountain

finally got around to writing one of these.. (sorry Masooma!)

I am probably one of very few Muslims who actually went out and paid money to watch this movie, but as a self-proclaimed movie buff, I felt it necessary to defend my title. My first mistake was in not realizing that this was, after all, a cowboy movie. I don't like cowboy movies. Second, I'm not a big fan of sappy romance either. There's two strikes. I'm just presenting you with my biases before I let you know what I really thought.

The opening was very slow. Pretty much a staring contest between two very good looking men (if I do say so myself) which wasn't too bad from an eye-candy point-of-view but rather pointless and boring, in general. The two men are looking for jobs and end up tending sheep on Brokeback Mountain together and slowly fall into love (or lust, depending on your definition). They have the talkative and sensitive Jack Twist (the classic 'wife') and the quiet and reserved Ennis (the dominant partner). The fact that the writers so cleanly classified certain behaviors as masculine or feminine was rather irritating for me from a feminist point-of-view. Later, when they part ways and end up marrying women and raising families, Jack is shown as an ineffectual husband, and a person with a weak will and it is implied that this is because he is 'feminine' or subordinate and needs a "man" to support him.

They did try to avoid any stereotypical 'gay' behavior, though (as far as cleanliness, fashion sense or show tunes are involved) and kept any explicit scenes between the two men to a minimum. The two love scenes were mostly in the dark and only about a minute or two long each though there were about 4 or 5 kissing scenes. There were love scenes between each man and his wife as well which were considerably more graphic.

The story and plot were lacking, but the acting was very well done. Ennis' wife (played by Michelle Williams from Dawson's Creek) does an exceptional job in creating a sympathetic female character in this movie centered around the love between two men. The dialogue could have used some work too.
"I wish I knew how to quit you"? Delivered in a Texan accent?? Save me from the cheese. PLEASE.

And with all romantic films there must, of course, be some tragic angst because we all know that true love was never meant for senior citizens. All in all, this film played out like any 90's drama romance (like Legends of the Fall or Before Sunrise) with the female lead substituted for a male instead. I didn't find anything orginal about the story or anything that might create a precedent or establish a brand new genre for any other films about 'alternate lifestyles'.

As you can tell, I can't understand why it would win (or even be nominated) for Best Picture or Best Screenplay, but I will admit that it wasn't quite as bad as I thought it would be.

For a more entertaining film about an unconventional love affair, I suggest Memoirs of a Geisha.